Emily’s Simplicity

Emily Dickinson

(December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886)
Today I thought I’d visit the modest rhymes and musings of sweet Emily Dickinson but then I changed my mind.

Not that I don’t adore Emily’s simplicity – we were like best friends for a long time. Did you know if she hadn’t died of kidney disease or heart failure she would have been 184 years old next month? We were going to go skydiving…

Okay, back to earth and the late Emily Dickinson.

Instead of sharing the standard fluffy stuff of hopes and dreams and sugary illusions of death she is known for I decided to show her darker side with this letter and poem to her sister in law Susan Huntington Dickinson.

I heard if you invert Em’s photo you’ll see that she actually has horns. [gasp! yikes! yee gads it’s true!]

She lived and died in Massachusetts ya know.


Tuesday morning – [1854]
Sue – you can go or stay – There is but one alternative – We differ often lately, and this must be the last.
You need not fear to leave me lest I should be alone, for I often part with things I fancy I have loved, – sometimes to the grave, and sometimes to an oblivion rather bitterer than death – thus my heart bleeds so frequently that I shant mind the hemorrhage, and I can only add an agony to several previous ones, and at the end of day remark – a bubble burst!
Such incidents would grieve me when I was but a child, and perhaps I could have wept when little feet hard by mine, stood still in the coffin, but eyes grow dry sometimes, and hearts get crisp and cinder, and had as lief burn.
Sue – I have lived by this.
It is the lingering emblem of the Heaven I once dreamed, and though if this is taken, I shall remain alone, and though in that last day, the Jesus Christ you love, remark he does not know me – there is a darker spirit will not disown its child.
Few have been given me, and if I love them so, that for idolatry, they are removed from me – I simply murmur gone, and the billow dies away into the boundless blue, and no one knows but me, that one went down today. We have walked very pleasantly – Perhaps this is the point at which our paths diverge – then pass on singing Sue, and up the distant hill I journey on.

I have a Bird in spring
Which for myself doth sing –
The spring decoys.
And as the summer nears –
And as the Rose appears,
Robin is gone.

Yet do I not repine
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown –
Learneth beyond the sea
Melody new for me
And will return.

Fast in a safer hand
Held in a truer Land
Are mine –
And though they now depart,
Tell I my doubting heart
They’re thine.

In a serener Bright,
In a more golden light
I see
Each little doubt and fear,
each little discord here

Then will I not repine,
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown
Shall in a distant tree
Bright melody for me

E –

 * * *

For more information on the life of Emily Dickinson check out the Emily Dickinson Museum.

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